Weird U.S.: Your Travel Guide to America's Local Legends and Best-Kept Secrets

Weird U.S.: Your Travel Guide to America's Local Legends and Best-Kept Secrets

by Mark Moran, Mark Sceurman

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Overview

For over a decade the Marks, publishers of Weird NJ magazine, have traveled the highways and back roads of their home state, camera and notebooks in hand, searching for the odd, the offbeat, and just plain weird places and people that make New Jersey the truly bizarre place that it is. They met some incredible people along the way, and all of them had a story they wanted to tell.

Their best-selling book, Weird NJ, was a publishing phenomenon, its appeal stretching far beyond the Garden State. So, camera and notebooks again in hand, Mark and Mark expanded their universe and found stories of weirdness in every state of the country. The result is a travel guide of sorts to America's local legends and best-kept secrets. It's chock-full of the crazy characters, cursed roads, abandoned sites, and bizarre roadside attractions that the authors feel reflect the shared modern folklore of our time.

So, come along with the Marks now. Visit places like the Coral Castle and Albino Village, explore abandoned insane asylums and forgotten tunnels—in one of them you just might run into the maniacal Bunnyman! Go off the beaten path and look for Melonheads, Frog People and the Melungeons. Take a ride down the Devil's Road and enter the Gates of Hell. Some of the people and places you'll see are disturbing, others are hilarious, but all are very very weird.

It's a journey you'll never forget.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781435154193
Publisher: Fall River Press
Publication date: 01/02/2015
Series: Weird
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 603,270
Product dimensions: 9.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

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Weird U.S.: Your Travel Guide to America's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
booklover3258 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The first book of a great series. Wonderful read and interesting stories.
mjgrogan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Before reading this, I assumed ¿ per a South Park episode ¿ that Al Gore was the only person who believed in the notorious Man-Bear-Pig chimera. Now I know otherwise. Reveling in a collage of myths and neurosis, this tome is chock-full of supposed oddities that have somehow escaped the lens of a camera (in a society where seemingly every post-1987 infant pratfall or freaking dog chasing a squirrel is filmed and aired on my damn TV each Sunday!). This is the underbelly of Americana¿and I love this crap!As a compilation of weirdness, this book includes the surreal-real (Rodia¿s Towers, Lizzy Borden) and the surreal-gotta-be-fake (96.9% of the rest of the content). In format, the authors non-critically expose the innumerable overlaps of stories, sightings, and BS across the nation. Crybaby bridges and ¿Melon-heads¿ are seemingly in every county. It makes me think there¿s some sort of return-postage, story-spinning template mailed to everyone who lives more than 40 miles from a video rental store. It¿s the equivalent of a Mr. Potato Head doll where you just plug in pre-scripted elements to make a freakish thing. I wanna play:¿So me and some buds were driving along route 34 in North Carolina. It was a hazy evening so we decided to turn off on Devils Foot Road. Down the road there used to be an asylum where a disenfranchised Rumanian chemist was turning orphans into Melon Heads in either the early 1800s or 1973. The fearless leader of the Melon Heads incited an uprising and burned the stone building down with the deranged scientist trapped inside the attic with his collection of Peruvian voodoo dolls. The lead Melon Head also happened to be a woman, and had a couple babies. She/it was seeking the love of a non-Melon Head man from a higher station in life. Assuming the man would only court her/it if she/it didn¿t have babies, she threw her babies off of Crybaby Bridge right there on Devil¿s Elbow Road in Broken Whistle, Oklahoma. Nonetheless, the man still screened her phone calls so the scorned lady/thing can now be seen, dressed like a bunny, wandering in a perfect 120 mile radius within South Jersey. She hits one Wawa store in each Township at alarmingly regular intervals. Nowadays, if you listen close enough you can hear the tossed Melon children singing along to frightening Neil Diamond songs as gaseous red balls dance around near the removed Union Pacific tracks down by the river bed. These multi-colored balls seem to emanate from a tree whose roots resemble a skull and/or the cloven hooves of the Devil himself! According to early colonists in Northern California, the Native Americans of the region used to call it the ¿cracker tree,¿ and as you¿re straining to look for it (as well as the blood-red water), your car will suddenly defy gravity and roll up hill (did I mention the wooden bridge slopes?). If you put baby powder on the hood, little melon-brat handprints will appear on the bumper! The melon kid apparitions are pulling your car up towards the hilltop where Creole-Hessian Jackson Whites have built an albino midget village ¿ complete with a 2-liter soda bottle Stonehenge ¿ dedicated to the New Testament! Freaked out, we started the engine and drove off, picking up some non-Melon Head hitch-hiking chick in a hoop skirt on the way. Charming at first, she became noticeably frigid as the conversation turned towards March Madness. Then she suddenly disappeared from the back seat as we passed the pet cemetery. Definitely the creepiest place in central Florida ¿ don¿t drink the water.¿ M. GroganMy favorite quote from one of the authors was: ¿¿is it possible that there really is a strange subhuman beast lurking in the backwoods of Arkansas?¿ Having lived there for a while, I¿ll withhold commentary.
aratiel on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Interesting, but rather frightening at times.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book can be an interesting read for any age because Weird US is packed with many weird stories from all around the United States. This book is split up into about 7 or 8 sections containing about 30 or 40 short story type things in each section. Each section also has a theme. Some are the themes that are featured in the book are, "Cemetery Safari", "Strange Roads", and "Gateways To Hell". You've probably heard a story or two from each section, but you probably haven't heard most of them! Now it's time for the serious part. Most of the book is made up of stories submitted, and written, by average people. While most of these stories are written quite well, some of them will make you wonder how they actually got into the book. They also include some very interesting pictures in the book. There is usually one for every story. Some are actual pictures, while others are drawn. In conclusion, this a very interesting book for all ages that can be read alone, but I prefer to read it with friends, just because it's more fun to read specific stories that you know will scare them than it is to just read through them all in order or pick randomly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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peteNA More than 1 year ago
Mark and Mark have done it again....a superb entry in the "Weird" books series. Having collected Weird N.J. magazine and owning Weird Carolina's I was not disappointed by "Weird U.S." The price is great, the binding strong and the content so interesting and educational. Can't wait to get "Weird U.S. Vol. 2".....a must read !!
starmackin More than 1 year ago
This book was a great read. It was fun to read about the backgrounds of all kinds of interesting places in the USA. I have the "Weird Kentucky" book and am happy to add "Weird USA" to my "Weird" collection. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys the weird in the mundane world of normal.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
sabashston More than 1 year ago
this book is full of weird things so if you like wierd things this is just the right book for you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
An amazing collection of stories based not only on actual weird places that exist, but also locations of mystery and wonder that have inspired unusual legends and folklore. It's not so much a travel guide in the traditional sense of the word (a journal which leads one to points of interest) so much as it is a document chronicling the unusual nature of things throughout this weird land of ours. It proves that no matter where you are from there is someplace bizarre and fascinating near you. This book is like a a tour guide of the mind that shows you just how to recognize such places.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought this book because we are going to be taking a year off to travel the USA and were looking for fun things to do. This book had ghost stories and haunted places. We didn't see one place we would want to visit. I returned this book back to the book store.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book serves as a good collection of... well, unsurprisingly, weird stuff from across the country. Most of the items are interesting, although sometimes I wish there were more detail on the interesting ones, and less space wasted with the dull ones. Still, overall not a bad book, and nice on a coffee table or in a waiting room. For more about weird places in the US, try 'Passing Gas', a neat book about funny place names. For more about weird groups, try 'Think You're The Only One'.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The greatest ride you can take! Bought this on an impulse and went back and bought a bunch for presents. This weird stuff is so much fun and the best is that you can actualy visit a lot of the places described. As the authors say, you can't make this stuff up. It's fascinating.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Brilliantly creative, witty and yes, scary! This book is like an encyclopedia of all things weird, but much more enjoyable reading. Far more entertaining, imaginative and inspiried than your run-of-the-mill travel guides. Two thumbs way up and hitching a ride to parts unknown!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Do yourself a favor and get a copy of this book! It's like taking a vacation to the strangest and most incredible places in America without ever leaving your home! Many of these sites that are located near me I can't wait to get out and see for myself. Others, like the truly terrifying destinations, I am glad are located nowhere near me. I'm happy just to read about those sites, thank you very much!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Having had my full share of 'serious' books on the nation, I took one look at Weird U.S. and had to buy it! It's written in such a fun and humorous, engaging way that I can't quite seem to put it down. This one's a winner!
Guest More than 1 year ago
A great idea that is terribly implemented. I was swayed to the book by the title thinking it would add lots of enjoyment to traveling, wrong. I'd sell my copy for two bucks. Simply, it sucks. The weidest thing about this book is it found a publisher. Don't buy a book for it's title.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this book without even looking for it and I have to say (and this is not a cliche or an exaggeration) it has changed my life! I don't mean that in a creepy 'cult' kind of a way, I mean it in a very possitive and exciting way. I was walking into my local Barnes and Noble store and there was a display of the Weird US book right there. I picked one up and started thumbing through it and I just couldn't put it down--so I bought it. After reading about all of the strange and interesting places and people in this book (some of which I had actually seen in my own travels) I became inspired to take a better look around me in my daily life. What I found was that there really are weird and fascinating thing all around--if you know what to look for and are willing to open you mind and your eyes and see them.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is just the type of book that I have been looking for! It is filled with all kinds of weird places/happenings all over the United States. I loved the pictures/illustrations that go along with a lot of the stories. This is a great book and the price is excellent for so much 'stuff' that is included. But this book. You will not regret it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a great book, not just one of those run-of-the-mill books on the paranormal but way beyond that with all kinds of weirdness. It is a documentation of our hidden culture. It is well worth the price. It would be great to see a book like this on each individual state. I'd buy them all.